Parklife

Well…I have been managing to publish at least one post a day for a long time. But this year, a lot of those posts were ones I already had in my drafts folder. I am not finding time to do more new writing. So…you will see a few posts that I wrote and published in 2018 that I am re-publishing (including the infamous STORM IN A TEACUP SERIES!)

I do have a blessed life here.  Despite being the other side of a trial that has turned my life upside down…I find myself here in this beautiful part of London, in a beautiful little abode, with interesting and satisfying work, and lots of lovely people in my life, not the least of whom is my beloved Goldfinch.  I rise early and have a leisurely breakfast and my coffee.  Then I shower and dress and then I climb three steps and I start work.  Three steps!!!  What a terrible commute to work – and they are all uphill!!!

Adult, Breakfast, Bedroom, Blanket, Bed

This part of London is completely new to me. I have been exploring whenever I have free time. Spring and summer are giving me more daylight hours to go venturing out to discover. Last week I found a pretty park.  I went there tonight with the book I wanted to finish and my fleecy picnic rug.  It is about a 40-45 minute walk from the house.  It is not the best park in London. But with beautiful trees and grass you can’t really go wrong. Lots of families, joggers, cyclists, people chatting on benches, drinking coffee or eating ice-cream at one of the little cafes.

I arrived at about 5.30pm this evening.  I had to finish the book I borrowed from the  local library…I read it in that beautiful park, the sun warming my back and the gentle breeze caressing my hair. I let tears roll down my cheeks as I read slowly every emotion packed sentence.  What a story.

Then once I had finished it, I sat up and did a little “people-watching”. When I was bored I lay down on my back and looked up at the blue sky, the branches heavy with verdant green towering over me.

Park sky

It’s nice to be snugly warm and yet to be able to detect that lovely faint breeze. I realized the sun was sinking and was now behind a very impressive cedar tree. I felt tears in my eyes again. There was a huge cedar tree outside the building I went into every morning at 6.45am for breakfast….and there was a huge cedar in the private park in front of the apartment I lived in with two flatmates for my first two years there. Before I moved into the flat where the trouble started. The trouble that led to a life-changing event.

My sister was in Lebanon for three months at the start of last year.  She told me all about the cedars there and showed me lots of pictures. Then two of my best friends went over there for two months and came back just as enthusiastic as my sister about the scenery and the food.

I want to go to Lebanon.

There are a hundred places I would like to visit…ideally to have several weeks in each location, maybe longer. There are a thousand things I would like to do.

But this word BALANCE and another word PATIENCE and what else?  Oh yes, SELF-CONTROL. There is no way all these places would exist if I wasn’t going to have the opportunity to see them all and enjoy them all at some point! I am sure. It would be too cruel. This earth is there to explore and discover. I am sure one day…we will set out on a voyage together and spend one or two thousand years  I would like to be with Goldfinch, discovering new places, new foods, new scenery, new cultures and music and experiences. I would like to do a lot of exploring with him and then at the end of each day find somewhere we could sit back and I could hold his hand and rest my head on his shoulder and we can talk about everything we saw that day.

River, Embankment, Tree, Water, Lake

I have a lovely balanced life here…which is what I have needed, starting over again. I have needed to do this gently. Right now, I have the ideal situation for building up my stamina (especially with work spread over five storeys of the building – I am getting plenty of chance to run up and down stairs), pushing my body a little bit more each day, always with the knowledge I will be able to rest up after work…getting back into routine.  Growing stronger every day.  I am enjoying my work very much…and I am loving my rest/relaxation time very much. I can see I will be spending more late afternoons in the pretty park I found.

There was a point when I could not have imagined I would be able to come to a park on my own and feel so peaceful, so full of blissful content and feel safe.  So many memories would be triggered of that night.  That summer evening when I went to a park on my own and sat on a bench and allowed hot spicy tears roll down my cheeks.  So many memories of the security guard who found me the following morning and called an ambulance.   So many memories of everything that happened that night.

But look at how far I have come.  I can go to the park on my own and feel happiness down to my toes.  I can hold my head up knowing I have not just survived, I have thrived…with the support of my family and friends.  I even have a Goldfinch who makes me feel as if I could fly.

Despite the cruel events which shattered my world…I am in one piece…I am in a safe place and I have  a balanced healthy and happy life. I enjoy my work, I enjoy my rest/relaxation time.  I enjoy Parklife.

Park

Coming Soon…

YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO

THE WORDPRESS EVENT OF THE YEAR

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Yes…the rumours are true…

 

THE GREAT

BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF

IS BACK!!!

 

LOOK OUT FOR POSTS EXPLAINING WHAT WE HAVE IN STORE

AND HOW TO TAKE PART IN THE SPECTACULAR

2020 SUMMER PICNIC

 

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Summer Loving

We interrupt this winter by declaring we would like summer to return, as soon as possible – PLEASE!

I want to be just as in love with Jack as I am now…next summer! I love summer. It’s very nice having cozy nights in and walks in autumnal woods with Jack.

annabelle2.jpgBut I actually want to be out there in the sun with him. Everyone will know by then. I want to be having picnics with him and hanging out with friends who invite us over for barbeques. I want to try boating with him and walking along beaches with him. I want to be up in the Lake District or North Wales hiking with him. I want to be eating ice-creams with him (dairy-free for me) and going swimming in Hampstead Lido with him.

Summer loving is so much more my thing than all the snuggling up on the sofa. Well…snuggling is always going to be nice. But I am such an outdoorsy person. I want to be outside living with Jack. By summer 2020, everyone will know, and I am going to enjoy it.

Beware Of Mad Dogs And English Men

I know that the temperatures I am going to refer to in this post may seem laughable to those of you who live in lands where the temperature is much hotter in the summer, but HOT is a relative term – isn’t it?

very warm.jpgPlease remember that the English are naturally fair weather creatures. We go a bit crazy in extreme temperatures. All life comes to a complete standstill when it snows, making us the laughing stock of Europe and we are very odd when it is hot. It doesn’t usually become overly hot in England. So it’s more likely to be when we are on holiday in Spain or Greece and temperatures soar, that we do the most obvious thing –  ignoring all of the advice from the NHS promoted amongst various media agencies, we drape ourselves over a towel and we bake in the burning hot sun making the locals think we are quite mad, well, proving we are quite mad. But I think the world actually knew that Brits are quite bonkers didn’t they. The way we react to the heat should have confirmed that by now!

very hotOn Thursday 25th July 2019, we had a record breaking hot day here in England. I was told that the hottest temperature taken that day was in Cambridge, where the mercury hit 38.1C. I was not in Cambridge, I was in London, where we certainly felt the heat that day. I read that at Heathrow, they recorded a temperature of 37.4C.

I will remember Thursday 25th July 2019 for some time. I had to work that day and it was so hot! I wore a floaty knee-length dress and rose gold sandals for work, which is not my usual choice of attire for work. I am glad that work was rather quiet that day, with not many people venturing in to see us. I think a lot of people who live or work in this part of London will remember the tremendous noise the thunder made. I mentioned what happened in another post:

police.jpgLast week I was at work when there was an enormous crash of thunder, the loudest I have ever heard. Shortly afterwards fire engines arrived and the police shut the main road off. It turned out lightning had struck the bell tower (it is all bent out of shape) and the roof was on fire. There is still debris all over the pavement outside. I offered to top up the water bottles for the police who were blocking off the road, because it was a very hot day – the hottest recorded temperature in England actually.

AmbulancePreviously, the hottest temperature recorded in England was 36.7°C, recorded at Heathrow (London) on 1 July 2015. Now that is a day that will remain etched in my memory forever. Where was I? Well, during the early hours of the morning I was unconscious, lying in thick undergrowth with more branches piled up over me, in a London park. Then a man named Gary found me. I actually remember how hot it was even at that time of the morning. Not long after, I was in an ambulance en route to a nearby hospital.

20180628_145757The day before had been very hot also. When I look back I often wonder whether dehydration contributed to my erratic decision that day. But no doubt the main cause was  the intensity of my emotions at that time, that lead me to make that regrettable decision to leave the venue I had been at with my friends, and walk in the direction of the park. And I don’t remember feeling cold at all at any stage. Quite the opposite, even in the dark, I remember the heat. It was draining. I was lethargic. I did not have the physical energy I normally do. I sometimes wonder if being dehydrated may have made it more difficult for me to flee and to fight. The ground underneath me was dry and so hard.

memory.jpgWhen temperatures soar to around 36C, my mind does cartwheels, so many memories of that night. It’s the heat that seems to be the most powerful trigger of flashbacks. I remembered something when I was in Australia. I didn’t know if it was important, but I remembered he must have had a ring on. I was asleep one night and I felt his hand over my mouth and the ring against my chin. Would it make any difference to the police to know that now? I stopped caring a long time ago. I have just wanted to get on with living.

stay alive.jpgNowadays, you don’t catch me leaving the little nest without a water bottle. I hate even the first signs of dehydration. Because I am pretty convinced that I was dehydrated that night just over four years ago. I want to feel energised all the time, always ready to flee when needed. That becomes even more of a concern on these hot hot days when the temperatures soar, my mind goes loopy with flashbacks and the streets are full of mad dogs and Englishmen.

oz summer.jpgI want to go back to Australia as soon as I can afford it to be with Goldfinch. However, looking ahead, in six months from now (which is probably when I could afford another plane ticket) it will be summer in Australia. I could not cope with their “hot”. Not only would I suffer physically, the heat may push my mind back to the second hottest day recorded in England back in the summer of 2015. Which means I go in a few months (their spring) and eat nothing in between now and then, or I wait for around nine months to pass (their autumn) at which point Goldfinch may have forgotten I exist, he could be married to some gorgeous Australian supermodel by that time. Grrrr! What to do???

burning fossil fuelsDon’t sweat! Stay cool! Keep drinking the water.

With this commercial system hell-bent on profit, scientists tell us there are more hot hot days ahead. But I am sure, those who greedily despoil our beautiful planet will be amongst the first to evapourate (no I don’t necessarily mean that literally – but who knows?), when our Creator expresses the heat of His anger towards those who do not care one jot for his beautiful works. That will be a day to remember, in many ways the hottest day ever! – followed by a very refreshing change – life under the rule of someone who truly cares!!! Until then – the heat is on!

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This was my response to the writing prompt from Sarah Elizabeth Moore:

Writing Prompt #31

Caramel’s Summer Vacation

I left school twenty years ago!!! But still I am looking forward very much to my summer vacation this year! You know why!!! Australia – here I come!!!

The count down is on! The suitcases are packed. I need to go and pick up some Australian dollars. But that is all I need to do now. I bought the lingerie already!! 😉

The only thing I am worried about now is waking up at four co’clock in the morning so that I can be at Heathrow on time for my flight! If anything goes wrong that morning and I miss my flight…that will just be the start of a major Caramel meltdown!

missed flight

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This was my post in response to the prompt from Sarah Elizabeth Moore:

Writing Prompt #22

 

I Hope The Crabs Were Having A Great Time

Teresa, aka The Haunted Wordsmith, has  a new non-fiction prompt. I really liked today’s question and it instantly brought back to my mind one of my favourite summer memories. This is Teresa’s question today:

What is your favourite summer memory?

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2019/05/22/nonfiction-prompt-may-22/

cove

Image by Máté Markovics from Pixabay

What a stunning photo Teresa has chosen with her non-fiction prompt for today. It makes me want to dive right in! I have no idea where it is, but what a pocket of paradise.

Well, my favourite summer memory is from not quite as glorious location, but it has been the setting for many an idyllic summer day.  Aberdyfi (pronounced Aberdovey) in Wales! One of my favourite ever summer memories was right here.

The timing makes it quite special. I mentioned in a post the other day that in my mid-twenties, I became ill. For eighteen months I was in and out of hospital. The last operation I had was in the February of 2007. In March my youngest sister Milly was married and I was one of her bridesmaids. I left home a few months later (see FOOTNOTE at end of post if you are wondering why).

I went down to visit a couple of times during the next few months. Milly and her husband had a little flat in the south of Snowdonia. I would sleep on sofa cushions in their tiny study. Nearby was the beautiful seaside town of Aberdyfi, very popular with holiday makers.

A week before I moved to the south of England, I went down to visit my sister Milly in Snowdonia. The weather was gorgeous – perfect summer sun. I don’t whose idea it was but Milly and her husband and I ended up spending the evening with a group of their friends. We had to stop at a friend’s home to borrow their crabbing lines and a fish mongers I think to pick up some scraps for bait.

shelleys.jpgIt was such a beautiful evening, still warm after a very hot day, but with a pleasant cool breeze. Because we had not eaten since breakfast, when we first arrived in Aberdyfi, we went straight to the fish and chop shop (I think it is called Shelley’s) and we bought some chips to munch.

Then we headed down to the pier/jetty. There we sat on the wooden boards dangling our legs over the edge. And then we did something I had never done before. We were crabbing. We dropped a long line into the water with some bait on the end and waited for the little crabs to bite. When you feel a tug on the line you start to wind the line back up quickly. There was the little crab on the end already tucking into the morsel we had baited it with.

Now that the crabs were up to the pier where we sat…we let them down onto the boards and they would scuttle sideways and then they would jump back into the water below. I remember feeling a bit concerned about the little crabs. The guys were laughing at me. They seemed to think the little crabs were having a whale of a time and were being very well fed.

I must admit, the little crabs did seem fine. And it was so exciting to see them scuttle so quickly. I think there must have been about a hundred tugs on the line, before we ran out of bait. I have no idea if that was the same crab that kept on coming back for more!

It was around ten o’clock at night by now. We needed to put jackets on because it was much cooler. We wandered along to The Britannia Inn to have a drink. There were a crowd downstairs watching sport. So we went upstairs and out onto the balcony which was empty. It was the perfect way to end a perfect evening. Huddling together to keep warm and chatting and laughing until we knew it was time to head back to the little flat where Milly and her husband started their married life (half an hour drive away).

It was such a perfect day! So special, it has stayed with me for twelve years!

That evening is my favourite summer memory because it was perfect in so many ways – it was a wonderful way to say goodbye to my beloved sister Milly. We had been sharing a bedroom for the past fifteen years and we were inseparable. But now, we would both be living away from the family home and we would be separated by over two hundred miles. For years after…I wished I could go back and re-live that summer memory over and over again.

More of Aberdyfi…

 

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FOOTNOTE

I had decided (and it was a huge decision for me) to move out of our family home. I had been asked to move to the south because there was a huge need for volunteers. Because I had been so ill, I was hesitant. Also the cost of living in the area I was asked to move to was far far more than the part of the north-west of England I had lived all my life. Even to rent a tiny bedsit cost more than renting a three bed-roomed semi-detached house in my home town. But I thought and prayed about it.

(I don’t know if I have written about how incredibly things worked out for me – maybe I should write a more thorough post about that…but in essence I ended up living in a gorgeous converted barn on a beautiful estate for free, and four months of the year I had to live in the mansion while the owners were away – I was swimming in a private pool, playing tennis on their private courts with my friends…etc etc!!!)

 

The Strawberry Mango Cake

When I woke up this morning there was a photo of this fabulous creation in my inbox from the gorgoeus theresaly520 theresaly520 – Culture Shocks who has created a very beautiful cake! Mangoes with strawberries decorate Sa’s sandwich cake and hasn’t she decorated it beautifully!

This is another cake that makes me long for summer – the mango adds that tropical twist to this cake and a great dose of much needed sunshine!

https://theresaly520.wordpress.com/2019/03/25/the-great-bloggers-bake-off-strawberry-mango-cake/

The Tropical Cake.jpg

Sa – thank you for brightening our day with your beautiful fruity cake. The tropical twist brought two songs back to mind that I always have in my head on hot summer days!

Today Was Like Summer Clinging On With All It’s Might

Today, here in England, especially here in London, we were blessed with another day of summer, which was a special treat for a day so late in October. It was almost bizarre to have such beautiful weather when next weekend, the clocks fall back one hour and we have to say goodbye to “British Summertime”. I took the time to indulge myself, losing myself in fields bathing in sunshine and trees breathing in the warm golden air.

 

summer2.jpg

I went to my secret little corner, a part of the nearby public parkland and commonland that hardly anyone seems to walk through. I know there must be thousands of people jogging or walking their dogs in other parts of the park, but hardly anyone seems to pass the little corner I found around eighteen months ago and have returned to time and again.

I can go and lie down in the long grass and remain hidden for hours. Hidden until a curious character found me! It is the first time I have seen cows here, but as it is commonland, there is no reason why cows should not make an appearance. I used to live next door to a diary farm – so I know to let the cows have their peace and quiet. They did not like me climbing over the fence to take some hey for the sheep in the meadow. (Farmer allowed us to – I was not stealing!)

 

close.jpg

I decided to give up my secret spot to her and her family as it was time I went back to the nest and started cleaning before Goldfinch arrives tomorrow.

Aaaaaaaaaah Goldfinch! It should not be hard for me to weave the word “magnetic” into a sentence about Goldfinch! But my brain is tired. I am just wishing he would linger on and on like summer has today. Not long until I say goodbye…and then I am sure I will need to go out walking to my secret little corner of the huge parkland nearby…and remember the times I shared my little hidden copse with my beloved Goldfinch. And I shall be clinging to those memories with all of my might.

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2018/10/21/daily-writing-challenge-21/

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/10/21/magnetic/

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/10/21/your-daily-word-prompt-bizarre-october-21-2018/

https://swimmersweek.wordpress.com/2018/10/21/cow/

Please…I Don’t Want Summer To Be Over Yet

I think today might be the last day of sun and warmth this year.  I have to admit it has felt good seeing folks in shorts and T-shirts and sunglasses and sandals this morning.

I have to start work soon and spend the last day of warmth indoors.  Nevermind!

I know autumn can be very beautiful.   But I can’t wait until spring and summer return and I start to live again.  I am so eager for the cold dark months ahead to be over already and to be feeling the excitement build within me once I detect that life and colour  are returning.

See me now…riding my bike down dusty country lanes with my friends, all of us wearing our summer glad rags. Just have to grin and bear the six months or so of cold, grey, damp days.

Summer songs may help distract me:

 

FOWC with Fandango — Eager

Preparing Emotionally For The Departing Of Goldfinch

Screenshot_20180901-174241_Google-01

He is going, he is departing…we have known that for a long time.  I have known since the night I met him that he would not be around for long.  Only Goldfinch has actually been around much longer than I thought.  Originally, he thought he would be going in the spring of this year.

But I cannot tell you how glad I am that I have been able to share a summer with him. Only it has not been enough.  I wanted to take him up my favourite peaks and mountains.  I wanted to take him to all sorts of exciting places I have found since living in London.  I wanted to introduce him to so many of my friends and family members.

sand slipping.jpgTime is running out and summer is departing, the longer days are departing rapidly and sunsets draw in so much earlier now.  I have already started grieving. It hit me about a month ago that it is futile to cling to him, he is like sand slipping through my fingers. There is nothing I can do to keep him here.  His life is in Australia.  Mine is not.

Years ago, Janet pursued my uncle all the way to another continent where he had just launched himself into a career after finishing his PHD.  They had been dating throughout university.  She told him that she could not live without him.  They were married and I have a lovely cousin who lives a stone’s throw away from me.

But I am certain Goldfinch will not want me to chase after him all the way to Australia. Hey I am a hopeless romantic.  Of course I would do it if i thought there was any hope he would be pleased with me.  Only he is the same Goldfinch I met last year, a goldfinch who wants his freedom:

Yes, Goldfinch has been able to captivate my heart…but the last things he wants is to be encaged by me or anyone else.

He will leave an English summer behind and head straight into an Australian summer. Whereas for me, I look ahead to bleak, cold, dark days ahead.  Days without Goldfinch.  I always find autumn and winter hard, but this year winter is going to be especially hard for me.

Thank goodness for comfort eating hey!  You have to make room for comfort eating in a balanced diet!

Just let me hold it together until he goes, because I do not want my tears to ruin moments of sunshine with him. I only want to add more wonderful to the special memories will treasure for the rest of my life of my time with Goldfinch.  Memories that will brighten my heart long after his departing.

What would I not give to have my time over again with him?  Only without having to squeeze time with him around ridiculous working hours.  I have two and a half months to add pages to the wonderful story I have shared with Goldfinch.

This was my response to another great writing prompt which has been created by the fantastic  Laura M Bailey  Laura M Bailey:

https://alltheshoesiwear.wordpress.com/2018/09/02/manic-mondays-3-way-prompt-departing/

FOWC with Fandango — Balance

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/09/05/your-daily-word-prompt-captivate-september-5th-2018/